Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Mongols (Mongolians), a, main division of Mongolo-Tatar race [Ural-Altaic], who take their name either from the word mong, i.e. "brave," "daring," or else from the small Mongol tribe of which Jenghis-Khan was chief, and which in the 12th century was seated near the Kara-Kara mountains north of the Gobi Desert. The Mongols, taken as typical members of the family, are characterised by a distinctly yellowish complexion, somewhat of the same shade as the yellow of the Negro palm; long, lank, jet-black hair, cylindrical in section; beardless face; small, black, and oblique eyes; high cheek-bones; short, flat nose; moderately prognathous lower jaw; broad, flat features; short thick neck; squat, robust figures, rather below the mean height; generally of coarse build, and of ungainly appearance on foot, but more comely in the saddle, in which most of their existence is passed. Temperament sluggish, somewhat sullen or taciturn, passive, with little initiative and dull imagination, but with great staying power, and subject at times to sudden impulse and vehement outbursts; hence, although incapable of founding stable empires, they have more than once overrun the northern hemisphere from the China seas nearly to the Atlantic, and have imposed several dynasties on the Chinese; but since the 17th century they have been entirely subject to the Middle Kingdom, and during this period the whole nation appears to have been steadily declining. Observers speak of them as a dejected and even cowardly people, unmindful of the past, heedless of the future, almost indifferent to the present. At least, they show no capacity for social progress, persisting in their dirty, slovenly habits, clinging to their tents and herds (for all are still nomad pastors), and even passively allowing the Chinese peasants to overflow into their domain and gradually bring under cultivation all the best grazing grounds, and threatening them with absolute extinction in the near future. Unlike their Mohammedan Tatar kindred, the Mongols have been Buddhists since the 13th century, though preserving many traces of their primitive Shamanistic religion. The "Red Cap" sect was first introduced under Kublai-Khan; but it made little progress, and was completely supplanted in 1566 under Altin-Khan by the "Yellow Cap" sect, which, being more suited to the national character, spread rapidly, and is now the exclusive religion of all peoples of Mongol speech. The language, spoken with little dialectic variety by all branches of the nation, is a typical agglutinating form of speech intermediate between the eastern Manchu, and the western Turki; cultivated since the 13th century, when it was reduced to written form with a peculiar alphabet adopted from the Syro-Uighur by the Lama Sakia Pandita, and perfected by Tsorjj'Osir under Jenezek-Khan (1307-11). The letters are written in vertical lines and read from left to right; but the literature consists mainly of translations from Tibetan and

Chinese Buddhist writings with a few national chronicles, legends, and songs. The chief branches of the Mongols proper are the Khalkas, Sunni, Chakars, Unites, Ordos, and Eleuths, in and about the east Gobi, the Kalmuks in the west, and the Bnryats of the Lake Baikal region, Siberia. Those subject to China form 41 aimalts (principalities) and 226 kosltungs ("banners"), under hereditary khans, numbering altogether from 3,000,000 to 4,000,000; but, including all branches, and the Persian-speaking Mongols of Afghanistan (Hazarahs and Aimaks), all the peoples of Mongol stock scattered over Asia and Europe (Lower Volga), are estimated at about 5,000,000. (Pallas, Klaproth; Schott; Ney Elias; Prejevalsky, Mongolia, 1876; H. H. Howorth, History of the Mongols, 1876-82.)